'I brought a statue that exploded': Russia parades laughing woman 'assassin' accused of killing pro-Putin blogger

3 April 2023, 11:14 | Updated: 3 April 2023, 14:35

Daria Trepova 'could never have been capable of killing' her husband has claimed
Daria Trepova 'could never have been capable of killing' her husband has claimed. Picture: Telegram/Russian government

By Kit Heren

Russian police have paraded a woman accused of killing a pro-Putin blogger in front of the cameras as she admitted bringing the exploding statue to the cafe where he was blown up.

Daria Trepova, 26, has been named by Russia's investigative committee as a suspect in the killing of Vladlen Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, who died on Sunday in St Petersburg in a bomb blast that left 30 other people injured.

The statuette, which depicted Tatarsky himself, was given to the blogger at a 'creative evening' he was hosting.

In a clip posted to Telegram, Trepova, who was allegedly caught while trying to flee to Uzbekistan, is asked if she knows why she has been arrested.

"For being at the place where Vladlen Tatarsky was killed," she replies, laughing ruefully, in an interview likely filmed under duress.

Asked by the interrogator what she did, she replies: "I brought a statuette there that exploded."

When the interrogator asks who gave her the statuette, she replies: "Can I tell you later?", at which point the clip ends.

But her husband has said she could not have been capable of killing anybody and said she was set up at the bar, which is owned by key Putin ally and Wagner group boss Evgenii Prigozhin, according to Russian media.

Daria Trepova admits bringing statue that killed Russia blogger

Dmitry Rylov said Trepova is a "very good and sensitive person, and would never kill anyone.

"And she would never come to term with the losses. She has been set up," he said.

"I believe that certain people have used and set up Daria Trepova for their own goals.

"I am 100% sure that Daria did not know what exactly she was bringing into the room," he said.

Russia has blamed Ukraine and Alexei Navalny's organisation for the "terrorist" attack, which took place at a political event being held at the Street Food Bar No 1 cafe in St Petersburg.

Trepova is a member of Mr Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation. Russia's anti-terrorist committee said.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Russian investigators said that Ukrainian spies were responsible for the attack, working with Mr Navalny's group.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Vladimir Putin, said: "The Kyiv regime supports terrorist actions and possibly is behind the killing of Vladlen Tatarsky, along with many other people since 2014.

"That's exactly why we are carrying out the special operation [the Russian term for the invasion of Ukraine]."

Mr Navalny's group has categorically denied the accusation, and blamed Russian secret services for the attack.

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, said that Russia needs "not only an external absolute enemy in the form of Ukraine, but also an internal enemy in the form of Navalny's team."

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he does not think about what happens in Russia.

"I don't think about what goes on in St Petersburg or Moscow," he said. "Russia has to think about that. I think about our country."

Police are also reportedly hunting for the husband of Ms Trepova, but the political group he belongs to said he has nothing to do with it.

The Libertarian Party also condemned the violence.

Read more: Killing of Russian military blogger at St Petersburg cafe investigated as 'high-profile' murder

Read more: British men detained by Taliban regime 'in contact' with families amid UK Government talks

Daria Trepova's mugshot
Daria Trepova's mugshot. Picture: Telegram
Vladlen Tatarsky was killed instantly in the explosion
Vladlen Tatarsky was killed instantly in the explosion. Picture: Social Media
The blogger was killed and 30 other people were injured
The blogger was killed and 30 other people were injured. Picture: Getty

Around 100 people were at the event. Thirty were hurt in the blast with four in critical condition.

Daria Trepova
Daria Trepova. Picture: Telegram

Video footage posted on Russian messaging app channels showed the aftermath of the explosion with tables and chairs broken and spattered with blood and shards of glass and debris strewn across the floor.

The blogger was handed an effigy of himself minutes before the blast
The blogger was handed an effigy of himself minutes before the blast. Picture: Social Media

Tatarsky was killed just minutes after being handed the statue - a gold-coloured effigy of himself.

A murder investigation has been opened but analysts suspect it was an attack carried out by the Ukrainian secret service.

Russian media said investigators are looking at the bust as the possible source of the blast but have not ruled out the possibility that an explosive device was planted in the cafe.

A woman has been arrested. No-one has claimed responsibility for the blast
A woman has been arrested. No-one has claimed responsibility for the blast. Picture: Getty

Tatarsky was an outspoken Kremlin supporter and blogger.

Russian authorities work on site in aftermath of St Petersburg blast

Russia's Tass news agency said Tatarsky, using various pseudonyms, had been filing text and video reports from Ukraine as well as from the Kremlin.

CCTV captured the moment the 200g explosive device detonated at the "Street Bar" café, with a fireball lighting up the venue - and a shockwave sending shards of glass blasting into the street.

Tatarsky's death appears to be the second assassination on Russian soil of a figure closely associated with the war in Ukraine
Tatarsky's death appears to be the second assassination on Russian soil of a figure closely associated with the war in Ukraine. Picture: Getty

Tatarsky was one of Russia's foremost military bloggers with over 560,000 followers on Telegram.

Tatarsky's death appears to be the second assassination on Russian soil of a figure closely associated with the war in Ukraine. 

Russia's Federal Security Service accused Ukraine's secret services last August of killing Darya Dugina, the daughter of an ultra-nationalist, in a car bomb attack near Moscow. Ukraine denied any involvement.

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